Saturday, June 18, 2005

Departure delayed - again.

Saturday, June 18, 2005 6:18:26 AM

So far the Russia trip has been a comedy of errors - or at least nearly so. This past Monday I got the word - late in the day - that all systems were go, the medical results and visa were in order. We then agreed on a Thursday AM departure.
On Tuesday my Quicken program suffered a major crash, and that took me 8 hours or better to repair the problem. This greatly reduced my time to pack and prepare. I also forgot to order my prescriptions that day - leaving that task to get done on Wednesday; which of course caused great consternation at the pharmacy, and also produced an inability on their part in filling the prescription.
Thursday we get up late - at 4:30! Ya, that's late, tongue in cheek, but we should have gotten up at 4. We had been up till well after midnight preparing and all. I was up after 1 AM. Getting up at 4:30 caused a late departure from home, and the trip to SFO was a bit lengthier than we had planned. Arrival time at the airport was approx 0700 for an 0800 departure. And, once inside, people were packed to the rafters - of course.
Good news, bad news. The good news was that the Delta counter had the rush well in hand, and moved people through with amazing organization and rapidity. I got to the counter to check-in in record time, even though I was hampered by toting 3 bags and my bicycle bag. The bad news arrived after I got to the counter and the agent checked my reservations. "Hmm, sir, you aren't in the computer. Let me look again. Nope, may I see your reservation? Oh, dear, did you realize that this if for next week?" Sure enough, it was.
We had asked for a Thursday departure, and seeing Thursday on the reservation from the travel center, we didn't check to see which Thursday they had booked us for. Oh, great, but no crying over spilt milk now, it won't do any good.
On top of this I no longer have my cell phone. It gave up the ghost last week and Verizon won't replace it. To get a new phone I have to pay for it AND sign a contract for another 2 years. Forget that. Since I can't use my cell in Russia, I was going to cancel anyway. By the way, they won't let me cancel - but that is another soap box and story. Anyone care to comment on cell phone provider greed and bureaucracy? Don't get ME started on that one. We won't hear any happy comments for longer than a nuclear submarine can stay under water. The dang things are so handy - if only they lived up to what the companies tell you you'll get. It is legal, but it is still fraudulent in my book.
Back to this day's adventure - the airport. I am without convenient communication. Pay phones still exist, however, and are easier to use than ever. They just are tied to one location. It is still earlier than business hours, so I can only leave a message for the home office. I know Delta is the preferred carrier (my understanding is the only carrier) for the Moscow destination. They are overbooked today, and have no more flights this day. So, I decide to go home.
Later I find that if I had my cell phone, I would have been rebooked to depart on Lufthansa in the afternoon. By the time I gain this knowledge, I am home, and at least an 2 hours from being able to get back to SFO, and it is 2 hr and 45 min before that flight's ETD. Forget that.
I catch the airporter bus back to Aromas. They drop me off at the corner of Dunbarton and 101, closest to my home. This is a great convenience, since the regular stop - Prunedale - is another 5 miles down the road. I walk home with my laptop bag and courier bag over my shoulders. The hike is 2 miles.
The gas station was kind enough to let me leave my bags inside their store until I could get back with my car. I offer the station attendant $5 when I get there with the car but he insists no. I appreciate this courtesy, believe me. I get home at 11:15, 3 hours after I left the airport.
I suppose I can't say its all bad - I do get a couple more days to pack and prepare - and rest. The preparation for this trip has been hectic. A lot of the home prep is catch-up. For instance, my home bookkeeping was 2 YEARS behind on details. We kept up with enough stuff to keep running, but the nicety of balancing accounts got put aside. Closing the Memphis project, going to Georgia, being sick. Then going to California. In California we moved 2 more times, and this further hampered playing catch-up. I managed to bring things in to line for the departure. Now I spent some time with the family before I leave. This has been nice.